updated 02:28 pm EST, Mon December 16, 2013
WP8.1 to bring Cortana, notifications
Microsoft's forthcoming update to its Windows Phone platform, Windows Phone 8.1, will reportedly feature two big additions: a notification center and a virtual assistant in the vein of Apple's Siri. The software giant, which will soon complete a deal to buy the manufacturer that makes the best selling devices that run Windows Phone, will detail its plans for Windows Phone 8.1 in more detail in April, according to The Verge. Microsoft is also working on a number of other software additions for its smartphone operating system.
The digital is still codenamed "Cortana," as was revealed earlier this year, and the feature will reportedly replace the existing Bing search feature. Microsoft is said to have been testing Cortana for months now, and the feature should emerge in a form similar to Apple's Siri and Google Now.
The notification center will be activated with a long swipe from the top of the screen, displaying a full notification history. A shorter swipe, reportedly, will bring up a quick settings menu, allowing users to activate and deactivate key features.
Microsoft is also adding in separate volume controls for Windows Phone 8.1, allowing users to control ringtone volume without affecting media playback. The update will also bring a Bing Smart Search feature similar to the one that was included with Windows 8.1. That feature shows a cleaner, graphic view of relevant information for search results.
Also rumored to be in the works for Windows 8.1 is a software button option. That software tweak will allow Windows Phone device manufacturers to produce less expensive handsets in the future.